Arabic is a language that is spoken in various forms from Southwest Asia to Northwest Africa. It is the official language of many countries of the Arab world such as Dubai, Iraq, Qatar, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Israel, besides many others. It is one of the languages recognised by the United Nations.
There may be differences, however, in the various kinds of the Arabic language depending on the region they are spoken in. There are Arab dialects worldwide that have imbibed regional influences leading to a new version of the language. The dialect spoken in Egypt is the version spoken by the largest number of speakers of the language (close to 89 million native speakers of the language). Due to the variations in dialects, a resident of, say, Sudan, may not understand the language spoken by a Qatari, even though both speak Arabic!
There are over 400 million speakers of the language all over the world. These include the speakers that speak the dialects too. The large number of speakers of Arabic and its dialects makes it the sixth largest spoken language in the world. It is also the language used by 1.2 billion Muslims for religious purposes.
The Holy Quran, the religious text of Islam, is written in a version for the language termed Classical Arabic. This language, though, is not now spoken for day to day conversation and is used mainly for religious discourse and scholarly text. It is also taught in schools but is used in its written form and not the oral one.
Modern Standard Arabic is the simpler form of Classical Arabic and is mainly used by the media such as television and newspapers. This version was created to act as a unifying language for speakers of various Arab dialects. Besides this, another version popularly used is the colloquial version spoken in most Arab countries.
Arabic is written in a cursive script that is different from other scripts in that it is written from right to left. The numerals, however, are written like in other languages, that is, left to right. The alphabet has 28 letters. A very vital part of written Arabic is the use of dots; the placement of dots can change the entire meaning leading to complicated situations.
English has adopted many words from Arabic. Many words such as checkmate, coffee, guitar, lemon, giraffe, caravan, and chemistry have their origins in Arabic. The script is also used for many other languages of the world such as Urdu, Dari, Pashto, Sindhi; Malay, Uzbek, Somalian, Persian, and Kazakh.